Not wanting to write about what’s going on in the world, I wait each week for something to come to me. The world overwhelms, though, and blocks my view of the ordinary, which I like to focus on and celebrate.
I limit news intake; it gets through anyway. When something awful happens (which is apparently the theme of 2017), it gets through even louder.
I won’t write about it, I tell myself. I won’t discuss thoughts.
I’ll take a drive instead.
Even when I’m not looking. Even when I’m purposefully ignoring. Like Oedipus, I can’t escape.
Sunday night, behind the wheel of my car, headed to the river, to enjoy the calm serenity of the water. The sun slowly sets to my left. I let my mind wander until I no longer hear powerfully stupid words repeated and see Tiki torches in my head. Eventually, I think only of the sights out the front windshield — corn fields and puffy clouds, red lights and yellow lines.
I reach the road’s end, where I must turn right or left to move forward. A large American flag flutters in the wind near medallions on a small stone wall honoring local men and women and the wars in which they fought (against fascism, for one).
There, a man sits in a blue folding camping chair. His black lab sits at his feet. Staked into the ground on his left, a handmade poster. Around the photo of a pretty brunette whose face I unfortunately now know, his writing (I assume): HEATHER HEYER.
As I come to a stop, we lock eyes. I pause longer than needed, stunned that he’s here, where I wasn’t expecting this to be.
I nod. He nods.
I, too, know her name. I, too, am sickened by what’s going on around me. I, too, understand that the (again) increased visibility of those once forced to remain on the fringe and in the shadows, is not correlated to but caused, and in fact emboldened, by the person currently occupying the White House (and his minions) (which even fellow Republicans said to renounce by calling them by their despicable names*).
I tried to take a day off, to escape what I know.
The universe won’t allow it.
One man demands people look at her, insists we examine what was on display at that rally. One man placed himself so he can’t easily be ignored, at a crossroads (like America?).
At the same time, one man can’t seem to stop himself from always being right, from widening the chasm between people instead of bringing them together, from not being what he should be from the powerful perch upon which he sits.
And one woman — me — can’t escape her fate. I look. I see. I know. And that means I have to do something about it, too.
There are many ones “on both sides.” I’ll do everything within my power to ensure the ones on the side of love will win.
There is only one side. #charlottesville
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) August 12, 2017
*Finally doing the right thing and reading the correctly worded statement off a TelePrompTer on Monday, on your third try, after finally listening to the adults around you for half a second, doesn’t count, especially when on Tuesday you double-down on the moronic things you said the first time you commented.